Isn't it strange that in a country like Malaysia, its own local films are shunned by the masses. Contrary to what you may have heard or read, there is actually no real revival of Malay language movies. If there was, don't you think the cinema operators would have identified or even operate a hall or cineplex meant specifically for Malay laguage movies?
Yet there hasn't.
This means that cinema operators feel that Malay language movies cannot sustain a cinema hall because the fans of Malay movies, and most of them have to be Malays, are not regularly watching these Malay language movies.
However, there is enough of a fan base for Tamil and Hindi movies to actually have cinema halls catering for this 'small' community. Strange.
For example, in Kuala Lumpur and PJ I know of at least four cinema halls are considered 'Indian cinemas' - State, Federal, Capital Square and Odeon cinema. These halls book more Tamil and Hindi titles than most cinemas, and surprisingly, these cinemas make money and get regular patronage from the Indian community.
So you can excuse my confusion if I wonder why Malaysia, being a Malay majority country, cannot have one cinema hall that caters to only Malay language movies.
In my opinion, as long as Malay language movies are not considered viable products by the cinema operators, I cannot consider them (Malay languaged movies) as something loved and supported by Malays, less so Malaysians.
I don't know when this will change. Some say it's a chicken and egg situation.
Build a cinema chain for Malay movies first, and the fans will come.
But cinema operators want to see the fan base increase ten fold first before they can even consider creating a cinema chain specifically for screening Malay language movies.
There was once talk about creating a national cinema chain, to be managed and run by GLC's or even FINAS. However, I guess, even FINAS doesn't have the courage nor confidence to run a cinema chain for Malay-language movies or Made-in-Malaysia movies. If they think it was viable, they would have done so.
Maybe with the existence of a new RM200m fund announced recently, the plans for a nationalised cinema chain can be revived. Especially a digital cinema chain, allowing local filmmakers to produce and screen their movies in digital format.
These ideas and policies need brave and strong leadership in our industry. I don't think we have that. So it will not happen.